-- In addition, stool specimens from 2,200 apparently healthy soldiers
were obtained in Lebanon; 85 of these were found to be positive for Shigella (para 2-6)
contracted in Lebanon.
THE FOOD POISONINGS
Food poisoning is distinguished from other food-borne diseases by its relatively abrupt
onset and violent symptoms.
a. Incubation Time/Severity of Disease. The incubation time and severity of
disease are related to the amount of contaminated food consumed. Typically, the larger
the amount of toxic agent consumed, the shorter the incubation time and the greater the
severity of symptoms of the particular type of food poisoning.
b. Comparison with Other Diseases. In other diseases transmissible by
ingestion of the causative organism, the mode of entry of the etiologic agent has little
influence on the typical incubation periods, courses, and outcomes of the diseases.
For example, diphtheria acquired by ingestion of contaminated milk is not
remarkably different from diphtheria acquired through inhalation of C. diphtheriae.
c. Food Poisoning Breakouts. Recognizable outbreaks of food poisoning are
most often seen among people who have eaten food from a common source, such as a
dining facility, restaurant, or field kitchen.
Outbreaks are more numerous in hot weather, when picnic groups often
fail to guard against food poisoning.
Prevention of food poisoning is discussed in section II.
d. Chemical Intoxication. A chemical intoxication, or poisoning, is caused by
swallowing a harmful chemical substance.
The most common poisons in military situations are pesticides and heavy
metals. They are usually the result of labeling and/or storage errors.
-- When zinc galvanized garbage cans are used for the production or
storage of acid foods such as lemonade or tomato juice, the zinc metal is ionized; zinc
ions cause acute heavy metal poisoning.
-- Enamelware made from antimony or cadmium can also cause heavy
metal poisoning when used in the preparation of acid foods.